February 28, 2007
As you most likely have already heard from your excited child, I have received permission and funding to take both my Gifted and Talented classes on a combined field trip to the Jacksonville Zoo to study three species of great apes: gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. Our funding source will pay all associated costs: bus transportation, zoo admission fee and program fee. Students will need only to bring their own lunch, snacks and drinks!
Our classes usually meet on Wednesdays, but the week of the field trip, our classes will meet on Tuesday.
We will take a 33-passenger motor coach (bus) and so have room for only five (5) parent chaperones. If you are able to chaperone, please indicate so on the attached permission form. Because we may have more volunteers than our bus will be able to accommodate, I will contact those parents who offer to chaperone to let you know if we can take you.
*Please complete the attached field trip permission form and have your child return it to me by Wednesday, March 7 (next week).
Following are the details of our trip.
Field Trip Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Destination: Jacksonville Zoo
Transportation Provided By: Astro Travel & Tours, Inc.
Field Trip Schedule and Objectives
5:45 a.m.: Parents must take children to school. We will meet on the benches in front of the school office at 5:45 a.m.
6:00 a.m.: Leave school in Tallahassee on charter bus. Students who are not on time, will be left behind.
9:15 a.m.: Arrive at Jacksonville Zoo, pay admission, meet with Zoo Education Director
9:30 – 10:15: Attend a Primate Program about the world’s four primate species, their unique adaptations, the problems these animals face and what students can do to help.
10:30 – 12:00: Students will spend 30 minutes at each of the three habitats in the zoo’s Great Apes of the World exhibit practicing the same skills and methods used by professional ethologists (scientists who study animal behavior). They will use “ethograms” to carefully observe and record the behavior of the bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas. Students will also study details of each ape enclosure, take digital photographs and write a Field Report that will describe the enclosures and include answers to the following questions: How are the animals fed and cared for? In what ways does it resemble their natural habitat? Are there appropriate social groupings? Are there appropriate enrichment activities? How might the zoo improve upon the apes' zoo habitat?
12:00 – 12:30: Lunch at the Zoo’s Picnic Area
12:30 – 3:00: Revisit great ape habitats for additional details and photos for their Field Reports, and then explore the rest of the zoo.
3:00: Board bus and leave Jacksonville Zoo
5:45 p.m.: Return to Astoria Park. All parents MUST be at school (exactly where they dropped off students) by 5:45 p.m. to pick up their own child. Children will not be allowed to leave school alone or with another parent unless we have advance, written permission. Teacher cannot wait with child for late pickup.
What should students take on field trip?
- Lunch, drinks and snacks in self-contained cooler bag or lunchbox.
- If you wish, students may be a small amount of money to purchase a souvenir in the Zoo gift shop.
- A small, lightweight backpack to carry a clipboard, notebook paper, pencils, and a water bottle.
- A small book to read on the bus (before/after movie).
- Students may also wish to bring a camera.
- Students should wear comfortable walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.
What students should NOT take on the field trip:
CD Players, Electronic Games, a lot of money, jewelry, or anything else expensive that could get lost.
Benefits of Proposed Field Trip and How the Experience will Tie in to this semester’s “Great Ape Project” Curriculum
During the Spring 2007 semester, my class focuses on the great apes – chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas – and the work of ethologists like Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, scientists who studied and advocated for the great apes.
Students study scientific theories of how great apes evolved. Students compare primate anatomy, locomotion and behavior. They use videos, books and web sites to study primate behavior and habitats in the wild. They learn how great apes use tools, how they communicate with others of their kind, and, now, with us. They also learn about conservation issues.
Dr. Elizabeth H. Peters, associate professor of anthropology at Florida State University, will visit our classroom to discuss her work with primates and engage students in hands-on activities in which they will study skulls and skeletons of the four great apes and other primates.
The Jacksonville Zoo is the closest zoo to Tallahassee that houses great apes. This field trip will enable the students to observe live great apes and to practice the same skills and methods used by professional scientists.
Student Project and Evaluation
As a culminating project for this class, working in small groups, students will choose one of the zoo’s three great ape enclosures, then, using the photographs they took and Field Reports they wrote at the zoo, design a model of a new, improved enclosure that would more closely simulate the ape’s natural habitat. Students will also design and include various behavioral enrichment objects and activities to include in their zoo habitat.
A PowerPoint presentation containing the students’ designs and notes will be sent to the director of the Jacksonville Zoo and will be posted on our class web site: www.wildclassroom.net/AstoriaPark/gap/gap.html.
Students’ Field reports, ethograms and habitat models will be evaluated according to predetermined rubrics.
Sandy Beck, Teacher
Gifted and Talented Program
Astoria Park Elementary